The Tampa Bay Lightning earned a hard fought 4-1 win over the New York Islanders Monday night. In a rematch of last year’s Semi-final, both teams played well and were extremely physical. However, it was the Lightning that would take over the game in the third and skate away with a 4-1 win.
There were a number of quick strikes in the first period. In more ways than one might think. Just 4 seconds into the game Pat Maroon squared off with Zedeno Chara. Although Maroon lost the bought it was likely due to Chara’s massive 6’9 frame. With the tone set, it would be the Islanders that would get on the board first. Hedman mishandled a puck that was picked up by Zach Parise who was able to hit Matt Barzal who scored on a breakaway. Less than a minute less than 30 seconds later the Lightning would earn the equalizer. Mathieu Joseph would intercept a puck in the high slot and fired one past Semyon Varlamov to tie the game at one.
Late in the period Anders Lee took a penalty and gave the Lightning the chance to take the lead. Just after the power play expired Anthony Cirelli collected a rebound in the slot and put it past Varlamov to give Tampa Bay the lead. It was Cirelli’s fifth of the year and would ultimately turn out to be the game winner.
Rough and Tough
There was certainly no love lost between the Bolts and the Islanders. If it wasn’t clear from the fight four seconds in, it was very clear during the second. This time it was a Cirelli, a player not know for his fighting. Despite this, he did more than hold his own. Brock Nelson charged Alex Kilorn and got up high with his elbow. In response Cirelli jumped all over him and dominate the fight. This would earn a slew of penalty minutes but received a pat on the back for standing up for his teammate.
More importantly however was the way the Lightning defended. Despite having to kill off 3 penalties, the Lightning were able to get out of the period with the lead. They were being outshot in the period 12-3, but none of them were extremely dangerous.
Lightning earn Two more points
Despite being outshoot in the second, the Lightning would lock things down in the third. As has been the trend over the last few years the Lightning played excellent defensive hockey when holding on to a lead. Up by one with just over six minutes left to go Palat skated down the wing and shot one at Varlamov. Although he made the save, it would lead to a traffic jam in font, where Brayden Point would have the puck pop right to him. Point would put it into an open net to give the Lightning some breathing room. Just a few moments later, Stamkos would score from his office on the power play to put a bow on a big win for the Lightning. It would mark the 8th straight game the Lightning have come out of with a point. In addition, the lightning earned 5 out of 6 points against the three teams they played in the playoffs last season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will head up to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Thursday. Then it will be right back home where they will play 4 straight at AMALIE Arena. This includes the first time the Seattle Kraken will come to Tampa Bay the day after Thanksgiving.
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